New Army tattoo policy eliminates potential recruits, future officer promotions

Posted at 6:51 PM, Apr 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-03 05:48:27-04

If you want to sign on the dotted line to serve Uncle Sam in the Army, it’s going to get a lot harder to make the cut.

By the end of April, new recruits will be held to the Army's new grooming standards--which include stricter rules on tattoos.

“Tattoos are cool thing today, 70-80% of people who come into our office have tattoos. I’ve seen 15-year-olds with tattoos,” said Sergeant First Class Robert Black with the Army Recruiting Command in Norfolk, who says these new policies will cut down on the number of enlisted they can take.

If you have a sleeve tattoo--you are eliminated.

If you have a tattoo on the face, neck, head, hands or fingers--forget about it.

If you have ink below the elbow or below the knee, you are limited to 4 tattoos, none bigger than the size of your hand.

“We have over 50 future soldiers in waiting, holding for basic training, and as of right now, 30% would not be able to qualify based on those standards,” said SFC Black.

The Army is allowing those new recruits already under contract, as well as current active duty soldiers, to be grandfathered in under the old rules—but if any of those enlisted soldiers want to try and get their commission to become an officer, they would be barred if their tattoos don't match the new policy.

“A situation like that would definitely be disheartening to someone who wanted to be an officer and now the tattoo policy is going to stop them from being able to do it, but once again, they have to adapt to the situation to go forward,” said SFC Black.

According to the Sergeant Major of the Army, who came up with the new standards, it is all meant to keep up a more professional peacetime force.

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